Researchers at the MIT media lab have trained an AI algorithm nicknamed "Norman"-a reference to the character of Norman Bates in Psycho-to exhibit psychopathic tendencies by exposing it exclusively to gruesome and violent content from what they say is Reddit content page that is "dedicated to document and observe the disturbing reality of death". The MIT researchers were trying to prove the point that "the data that is used to teach a machine learning algorithm can significantly influence its behavior", and therefore, if you'll use it to make any important decisions, the data you feed it matters. Norman was trained using data from the "darkest corners of Reddit", and then his responses were checked using Rorschach's inkblot tests.
Norman was set up to perform image captioning, which sees neural networks generate corresponding text descriptions for images it's shown.
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The results of the comparison are below.
Based on the results of the test, Norman's response was more disturbing compared to the standard AI.
You can see some of the comparisons below.
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"Norman only observed horrifying image captions, so it sees death in whatever image it looks at", the researchers told CNNMoney. Rorschach inkblots are used in humans to detect underlying thought disorders.
Due to ethical concerns, MIT only introduced bias in relation to image captions from the subreddit which are later matched with randomly generated inkblots.
As The Verge notes, Norman is only the extreme version of something that could have equally horrifying effects, but be much easier to imagine happening: "What if you're not white and a piece of software predicts you'll commit a crime because of that?" The goal of Norman AI is to demonstrate that artificial intelligence can not be unfair and biased unless such data is fed into it. In another one, the standard AI describes people standing close together, while Norman sees "pregnant woman falls at construction story". Where the standard AI sees "a close up of a wedding cake on a table", Norman, our malicious AI robokiller sees "a man killed by speeding driver".
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